Don’t think about the calories

Interested in a sweet job?

Interested in joining one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”?

Interested in stable employment in a global industry? (Turnover is only about five percent with some employees boasting three generations of gainful employment there. The present work force is just shy of 12,000.)

Interested in bonuses that can range from 10 percent to 100 percent of your annual pay based on performance?

Interested in flexibility, shifting easily from one division to another?

Interested in working at America’s third-largest private company (no outside shareholders, no stock options and an almost-unknown board of directors)?

Can you handle punching in on a time clock where even the president has to check in?

Want to take your dog or cat to work with you?

If any of the answers are affirmative or almost affirmative, take a look at the company’s new plant opening later this year. It will create an estimated 200 full-time jobs.

The catch (there had to be one, of course) is that the plant is in Topeka, KS, which translates into either relocation or a long commute from Michigan.

Financially the company boasts about $33 billion in global revenues with nearly a dozen brands generating more than $1 billion each. (Those numbers put it ahead of McDonald’s, Starbucks and General Mills.)

This enterprise is run from a nondescript and unidentified building almost next door to the CIA headquarters in McLean, VA. Its front door is locked and there’s a “Private Property” sign posted on the grounds.

The burning question: What company is this?

The quick answer: Candymaker Mars, Inc., which produces the popular Snickers, Milky Way and 3 Musketeers candy bars, the multi-colored hard-shelled M&M’s as well as such diverse fare as Whiskas cat cuisine, Pedigree dog food, Uncle Ben’s rice and Dove ice cream specialties.

Two more perks that might ease the stress of heading to Topeka: Free M&M’s and a special private Christmas run of Dove Peppermint Bark ice cream for the employees.

Polish up your resume and I’ll see you on the Kansas plains.

Trivia tidbit about Mars: The Hackettstown, N.J., candy plant turns out about 192 million M&M’s in 25 colors during an eight-hour shift. About two percent of those are rejected by quality control. (What happens to those four million rejects?)

Quips ‘n’ Quotes:  Humor columnist Dave Barry said, “My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I’ve finished two bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.”

Henry Passenger’s column appears each Wednesday in the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at

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